Black & White - Masks, Rites and Transformations I

All great things must first wear terrifying and monstrous masks
in order to inscribe themselves on the hearts of humanity

Friedrich Nietzsche

Irving Penn, Three Asaro Mud Men, New Guinea, 1970

Irving Penn, Two Men in White Masks, Cuzco, Peru, 1948

Chris Rainier, Masked Tatanua Dancers for Malangan Celebration, New Guinea

Walker Evans, African art, Mask with feathers

Roger M. Parry

Cheryl Koralik, Masque Bob, Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso, 1991

Edward Curtis, Masked Dancer Cowichan, 1913

Edward Curtis, Tonenili—Navajo,c.1905

Eliot Elisofon, Belgian Congo, February 1947

Edward Curtis

Ralph Eugene Meatyard

Ralph Eugene Meatyard, Romance from Ambrose Bierce#3, 1962

Arthur Tress

Helen Levitt, New York, children on stoop wearing masks, 1939

Roger Ballen, Wild Child, 2003

Brassaï, Carnival in Frascati, 1954

Diane Arbus,  Untitled, 1970

Edward Curtis, Inuit masks

Hiroshi Watanabe, Kurohige, Naito Clan

Hengki Koentjoro

Kenro Izu, from the exhibition: BHUTAN sacred within

Hiroshi Watanabe, Chujo, Naito Clan


  1. That picture of Arthur Tress.. I've seen it before but didn't know who had to be credited for such a beautiful photo!

  2. I keep coming back to the sole unmasked person here in Parry's photograph - found myself appreciating her warm smile amongst the alien, kind of unsettling faces these masks have. Although, Meatyard and Tress' photographs are kinda funny in their cartoonishness! (The man in the left of Meatyard's first photo has a sinister quality to him, though...)

  3. @madrigual: I had also seen the photo in various places without any credit, before I finally found out that it's from Arthur Tress. It's indeed a wonderful children's portrait.

  4. Thank you, Vincent. I wasn't aware how much this sole smiling human face stands out in this collection until you pointed me to it. The interesting aspect about the photos from Meatyard is, that the people he portraits are mostly friends and relatives. An indeed sinister way to point out how close we are to our demons. At least I like to look at it that way ;)

  5. I am obsessed with your blog. You've curated such a fun place here.

  6. Thank you, chelseas! Glad you're sharing some of my obsessions :)

  7. I also found your blog while trying to ID that Tress photo (thanks for clearing that up), but I think the whole page is great. Finding common ground between things like the Tress and Meatyard and Arbus with Curtis's 100-year-old shots of tribal masks is really inspired. Great how you also pulled in things like that rather haunting Helen Levitt photo.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...